Stuff You Missed in History Class
Holly and Tracy splash around in the depths of history.

Category RSS Feed

Podcast Transcript | Listen to the Podcast Now

What happened to Cleopatra's children? | October 12, 2009

 
Sara

And Antony already fancies himself as the modern Dionysus, so to see his counterpart the modern Isis is very exciting for him.

Katie

Totally works. So she gets her way, and he recognizes her as an independent monarch, which is more than she really could have hoped for.

Sara

Yeah, instead of a Roman puppet essentially.

Katie

And I think this is your favorite part. They start a society of inimitable livers, which when I read that, I kept thinking of the organ, but I think they mean more like people who live.

Sara

Yeah. Although, I don’t know, judging by the debauchery they’re known for, livers might be an important component.

Katie

I just keep reading about their dinners. They eat everything from peacocks to cranes and sturgeons and everyone wore wreaths of flowers and had dancing girls and it just sounds completely ridiculous. In a wonderful way!

Sara

Yeah, this is probably a cult dedicated to Dionysus. But during this exciting time they have together, they also conceive twins.

Katie

Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, but Antony is also married, let us add. A few times during this!

Sara

A few times. And by the time the twins are born, he’s actually returned to Italy. His wife has died, but he’s married in this political alliance to Octavian’s sister, Octavia, and they settle in Athens. But meanwhile, things with the triumvirate start to crumble, and this political marriage, while it holds things together for a little while, Octavia actually mediates a dispute between her brother and Antony. Eventually, Antony realizes things are not going to work with Octavian, and consequently, there’s no reason to stay with his sister then. So h
e heads back to the east.

Katie

And has another child with Cleopatra, Ptolemy Philadelphus. So they have three together now. And after a big success in Armenia, Antony, instead of going home to Rome, heads to Alexandria, which was unusual. Usually you would go back to Rome and have the big, triumphant dinner, and he is possibly dressed as Dionysus – this is somewhat iffy with historians – and they stage something called the Donations of Alexandria.

Sara

Which is even more scandalous than the triumph in Alexandria? So on a platform of silver, Antony and Cleopatra sit on golden thrones, Cleopatra dressed as Isis. A lot of times she didn’t dress in Egyptian clothing, she dressed in Greek styles or Roman styles; whatever – she knew how to dress the part, basically.

Tags: , ,

 
 

Comment Now

Recent Postings by Category